Two of the leaders in the emerging market for “electrified” vehicles have decided to team up in a bid to make it easier for owners to charge up away from home.
BMW and Nissan are partnering in an effort to set up fast-charging stations at 120 locations across the U.S. The Level III systems are capable of giving a vehicle like the Nissan Leaf or the BMW i3 and 80% charge in as little as 20 to 30 minutes, far less time than a conventional charging system.
“BMW continues to pursue new ways to support the development of a robust public charging infrastructure that will benefit current and future BMW i3 owners across the country,” said Cliff Fietzek, Manager Connected eMobility, BMW of North America. “Together with Nissan, we are focused on facilitating longer distance travel so that even more drivers will choose to experience the convenience of e-mobility for themselves.”
The lack of an ample public charging network has frequently been cited by studies as a key reason why consumers are reluctant to adopt battery-electric technology. That’s all the more of an issue with current-generation batteries that typically limit range to around 100 miles per charge.
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Experts believe that wider availability of chargers will reduce so-called range anxiety – all the more so when owners can access higher-power chargers like those being put in place by the BMW-Nissan partnership.
Together, they plan to install dual-port chargers at 120 locations in 19 states. That includes California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, North and South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The chargers include two different types of ports to service Nissan Leaf and BMW i3 battery-electric vehicles – and a number of others that can use CHAdeMO and CCS connectors. The 440-volt DC, 40-kilowatt-hour systems can recharge a totally drained battery in as little as 20 minutes, hours faster than even a 220-volt Level II system.
“Nissan takes a three-pronged approach to growing public EV charging options for Leaf drivers by installing quick chargers in the community, at corporate workplaces and at Nissan dealerships,” said Andrew Speaker, Nissan’s director of Electric Vehicle Sales and Marketing.
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To make it easier for drivers, the new chargers can be located using either the BMW ConnectDrive infotainment system or BMW I Remote App, or via the Nissan EZ-Charge smartphone app. The chargers also accept Nissan’s EZ-Charge card. The Japanese maker now offers free charging to Leaf owners in a number of major cities.
Nissan and BMW aren’t the only ones who have gotten into the charger business. Tesla has been expanding its own Supercharger system, establishing hundreds of high-speed chargers across the U.S. and Canada.
Both Nissan and BMW, meanwhile, have joined up with a broader consortium of automakers, charger companies and other firms. Dubbed ROEV, FOR roaming for Electric Vehicle charging, the new venture aims to make it easier for owners of battery-based vehicles to plug in wherever they go. It will let them access the vast majority of public charge stations without having to sign up with a variety of different service providers.
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The goal is to “make sure every station is capable of serving every vehicle out there,” explained Brendan Jones, a vice president of NRG EVgo, one of the partners in the new charging consortium. “ROEV is reducing the barrier (to EVs by letting) people know they can charge anywhere.”